|Clay Buchholz: ‘You can’t replace Jon Lester’||08.01.14 at 5:29 pm ET|
The new clubhouse dynamics took a while to comprehend. Clay Buchholz‘s belongings had relocated to John Lackey‘s old locker, the one tucked into a corner reserved for a veteran leader of a pitching staff. The position wasn’t far from his former station — just two lockers down — but it represented an adjustment for Buchholz to wrap his head around the notion that he was now the lone established big leaguer in the Red Sox rotation, something that he acknowledged was “a little bit” strange.
“I don’t feel like I’m old by any means. Time passes pretty quickly in this game,” said Buchholz. “I’ve been able to learn a lot from all of the guys who have come through and left. I’ve been able to make some really good friends, too. I feel like this is just how it’s going to be, for this year, at least, and just figure it out.
“One of those things. Things happen, another team is in the same situation we were in last year. We were trying to add guys to our roster to win a World Series. That’s what other teams are doing right now. It just so happens that a couple of our guys are going to try to help another team win this year.”
Lackey, a teammate of Buchholz’s for the last five years, is gone (having been traded to the Cardinals on Thursday), as is Jon Lester, who had been teammates with Buchholz for every one of his days in the big leagues dating to 2007. The departure of Lester creates a void atop the Red Sox rotation. How can it be filled? Read the rest of this entry »
Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Hazen joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about the team’s trade deadline deals. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
The last-place Red Sox went on a full fire sale Thursday, making four deals and trading five players before the 4 p.m. deadline. The most notable name dealt was lefty Jon Lester, who was shipped to the Athletics with Jonny Gomes for Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes. The Sox also traded John Lackey to the Cardinals, Andrew Miller to the Orioles and Stephen Drew to the Yankees by the end of the day.
The Red Sox not only got an All-Star in Cespedes, they also got major league talent in return for Lackey, acquiring outfielder Allen Craig and starter Joe Kelly from St. Louis.
“I think we had had that in the back our mind the entire time,” Hazen said. “We wanted to make sure we put as much talent on the major league roster as possible. I will say, you can’t go into those situations with that plan. You can have the plan, that’s great, but it’s not typical that you would get offered or find teams that have the ability to give players off their major league club when they’re making a playoff push.
“So that’s not something you can necessarily go in there and say, ‘We really want to do it.’ Every trade takes two to tango. We can go to a team and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got Jon Lester, we’ve got John Lackey, guys that we believe will really help you down the stretch.’ On the flip side, they can say, ‘Great, but we can’t take guys off our major league club.’ ”
Added Hazen: “In a lot of cases you end up talking to most clubs with prospect packages because they’re major league clubs in deep. I think what we ended up finding was that there were a lot of clubs that had depth on their major league roster. The Cardinals, everyone talks about the talent they have. Obviously the A’s have the best offense in baseball, so they were able to sacrifice something off of those major league clubs in order to get something in their rotation.”
Given the pure volume of trades that the Red Sox made at the deadline on Thursday, former Boston Bruin Shawn Thornton expressed concern at Thursday’s Buchholz Bowl charity event at Jillian’s and Lucky Strike Lanes in Boston.
“I’m coming to the game on Saturday and they might need me to pitch,” Thornton said with a chuckle.
Jon Lester and John Lackey not only represented the team’s most consistent pitchers, but also provided leadership for the group in the clubhouse. Buchholz said that he was slightly shocked to see two of his rotation mates shipped out of town.
“To be able to make friends and be lucky enough to be with the guys that I’ve been around, it’s a little different,” Buchholz said. “That’s the business side of baseball. Hopefully, they can make a move on and help another team reach the playoffs and reach another World Series.”
As the pitcher with the most experience on the staff, Buchholz would appear to be the de facto leader for the rotation. When asked if he was ready to lead the group, Buchholz was noncommittal and instead started to talk about his health.
“I feel good where I’m at right now. I feel healthy,” Buchholz said. “Obviously, the numbers haven’t gone the way that I wanted it to this season yet, but if I have 10, 11, 12 starts left, I’m going to go out there and treat it like it’s another game and go out and try to do the best I can to help the team win.”
|Source: Marlins, Orioles were most aggressive in pursuit of Jon Lester||07.31.14 at 11:31 pm ET|
While there were a few media reports linking the Marlins to the Lester talks, Miami’s involvement might have been the most surprising of any team, with most of its attention was thought to be on acquiring Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, who, unlike Lester, has another year of control on his contract. Mike Redmond‘s team stands at 53-55, six games out in the National League East, and five games behind for the final wild card spot.
As of Tuesday night, a source confirmed that the Orioles were perceived to out of the hunt for Lester. But Baltimore looped back Wednesday, falling short, thanks in part to an inability to offer either the major league piece or minor league power hitter desired by the Red Sox.
As it turned out, all the teams heavily involved in the negotiations for Lester’s services (which also included the Pirates) were offering packages centered around prospects. With their farm system somewhat depleted, the A’s were the only club ready to make a major league-ready player the focal point of their offer.
In the end, the Lester deal was done when Oakland sent Yoenis Cespedes (and a competitive balance draft pick) for Lester and Jonny Gomes.
For more on the non-waiver trade deadline, go to weei.com/redsox.
|Ben Cherington begins road to rotation rebuild: Sox to be ‘involved in starting pitching this winter’||at 11:23 pm ET|
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington knows he completed just half the job on Thursday by trading away Jon Lester and John Lackey, completing a wild week that saw him deal away four-fifths of his opening day rotation.
“That is not something we would have expected to do at the start of the season, trade away four-fifths of the rotation,” Cherington said. “And obviously, each trade done for different reasons and different circumstances. Ultimately, at least the ones — I talked about the Peavy trade before, and that was done at a little bit different time for us.
“The two trades we made today, in Lackey and Lester, were difficult to do, but we feel fit into our desire to be as good as we can as quickly as we can. With that said, we recognize we will have to, we will need to do some work with our starting rotation. We hope and expect many of the answers for that can come from the guys who are here. But I’d expect us to be involved in starting pitching this winter.”
Dealing Lester and Lackey for position players who project to be everyday players for the team in 2015 is only the beginning. Now, Cherington has to go about rebuilding a rotation that lost 40 wins from a 97-win World Series championship team a year ago.
Part of that answer could come from the minor league system, which is stocked with names like Henry Owens, Matt Barnes and Anthony Ranaudo, who makes his major league debut Friday night in the series opener against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
“Obviously some of those young pitchers are going to get a lot of opportunity the rest of the way, the guys that are already here,” Cherington said. “Ranaudo is going to start [Friday] night. We have an opportunity to watch that and they have an opportunity to pitch and develop. We’ll know a lot more about that group by the end of the season and that will help inform us, to some degree, going into the offseason. It would be my expectation that we would be active no matter what happens the rest of the way.
“My expectation is that we would be active in the starting pitching market this winter with trades, free agency, whatever. But we’re going to learn a lot more about our young group. We liked our young group of starters two weeks ago and now we’ve added a couple more to that in [Eduardo] Escobar and [Eduardo] Rodriguez — two young starters we got. We feel very good about the depth of young starters that we have in the organization. Obviously they’re not proven major league pitchers and so we’ve got to learn more about them the rest of the way and see what’s available to us this winter.”
Ever since his team began hitting the skids in Toronto, Ben Cherington has been losing a lot of sleep. On Thursday, he lost five players from a roster that won the World Series just nine months earlier.
The Red Sox hit the deadline at 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore and in last place in the AL East. Cherington admitted Thursday that he needed to move quickly. He did by trading Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Andrew Miller and Stephen Drew, all of whom received 2013 World Series rings on opening day a little less than four months ago.
“I think it speaks to where we are as a team,” Cherington said. “It starts there, and there’s nothing celebratory about this. These moves are made because collectively as an organization we haven’t performed well enough — this year, anyway. So that precipitates the moves, and then, yeah, there is demand because we were in a unique position, because, despite the record of the team, we had a number of guys particularly pitching, performing really well and very recently playoff-tested.
“So it was a unique combination and we were able to add, I think that helped us, turn those guys into a lot of proven major league talent as opposed to just prospect deals. Prospect deals are typically easier to pull off Most of the time when you’re getting calls from contenders it’s hard to get proven major leaguers from contenders because typically it doesn’t make sense to give up proven major leaguers for a contender. I think the quality of our guys and the fact that they’re recently playoff tested helped us do that. There are other things we could have done but we felt like we did enough, nothing else really made sense to us.”
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington admitted as much at his press conference after the trading deadline passed and Lester was on his way to Oakland. Cherington was asked if Thursday’s trade ruled out any chance the Red Sox might still go after him if he hits free agency this winter.
“He’s an Oakland A right now so I don’t think it’s right for me to talk about that ‘ other than to say looking back that we certainly had a desire to engage on a contract conversation with him,” Cherington said. “That conversation just didn’t happen enough for whatever reason. As we got deeper into the season he made it clear that that wasn’t something that he wanted to focus on right now and so we honored his desire. And we had conversation with Jon about that, that we respected that position but because of the performance of the team that meant that we both might have to deal with this possibility.”
“If the team’s performance didn’t really improve that meant teams were going to start calling on him and it was something we were going to have to deal with. We both knew about that possibility going into this week because we had talked about it. It combination of the team’s performance and his desire not to focus on the contract right now, which we respect his reasons for. So what happens ‘ that’s not for me to talk about now. He’s an Oakland A and he’s got a job to do for them. When we get to the offseason we get to the offseason.”
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